Houston Women Repeat in AAC; Cincinnati Men Win First Ever Title

2018 AAC Men’s & Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships

The women of the University of Houston and the men of Cincinnati each put a ribbon on their 2018 AAC conference titles on Saturday evening in Dallas. For the Houston women, this is their 2nd-straight conference championship, while for Cincinnati it was their first conference championship in program history – across any conference.

Both titles were just-about sealed up heading into the final day of competition, but if it wasn’t certain on the men’s side, Cincinnati made it so with a 1-2-3-5 finish in the men’s 1650 free, which earned them 67 points and pushed them 107-points ahead of runners-up East Carolina. While the Pirates would win 3 events the rest of the day (and Cincinnati none), the Bearcats’ depth was enough to keep the Pirates no-closer-than 90 points the rest of the day.

The Houston women, meanwhile, entered the day with a 151-point edge over Cincinnati. The Cincinnati women, like their men, had a lot of early success in the session, which included a 1-2 finish in the opening mile from Sara Wanasek  in a new Meet Record of 16:15.51; and Sarah Laabs in 16:27.15.

They then went 1-2-3 in the women’s platform event, the 2nd of the day. Diving has traditionally been an area of strength for the Houston women, but at this year’s meet, Cincinnati was especially dominant in the platform event.

They couldn’t hold that momentum for the rest of the session, however. Houston sophomore Zarena Brown won the 100 free in 49.09, breaking her own Pool Record set in prelims. Brown swept titles in the 100, 200, and 500 freestyles at the meet.

Houston finished the meet with a relay win in the women’s 400 free in 3:18.56, with 3 sophomores-or-younger as part of the group. That was a 2-second margin over East Carolina and 4-second margin over Cincinnati to punctuate their second-straight title.

SMU senior Matea Samardzic was named the meet’s women’s Most Outstanding Swimmer, and ended her meet with another win. She won the women’s 200 backstroke in 1:52.80, which is her 2nd-straight AAC title in the event. That time ranks her 19th nationally and should be good enough for her to earn an invite to the NCAA Championships in March.

  • Women’s Most Outstanding Swimmer – Matea Samardzic, Sr., SMU
  • Women’s Most Outstanding Diver – Claire Schuermann, So., Cincinnati
  • Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year – Ryan Wochomurka, Houston
  • Women’s Diving Coach of the Year – Kirtley Krombholz, Cincinnati
  • Men’s Outstanding Swimmer – Jonathan Gomez, Sr., SMU
  • Men’s Co-Most Outstanding Diver – Bryce Klein, Sr., SMU and Danny Kinney, Sr., UConn
  • Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year – Mandy Commons-DiSalle, Cincinnati
  • Men’s Diving Coach of the Year – Danan Schmidt, SMU
  • Men’s Team Academic Excellence Award – SMU
  • Women’s Team Academic Excellence Award – SMU

Other Day 4 Winners:

  • SMU freshman Andrea Podmanikova broke the AAC Meet Record in the 200 yard breaststroke in 2:09.29, clearing the old mark of fellow Mustang Tara-Lynn Nicholas. Nicholas swam 2:10.10 in 2014. That’s a season-best by Podmanikova by 6 seconds after joining the varsity squad for the spring semester.
  • East Carolina senior Juliette Lajoie won the women’s 200 fly in 1:59.14. She and sophomore Simone Palomo were nose-and-nose throughout the race, but a small surge by Lajoie in the 3rd 50 made the difference. Palomo took 2nd in 1:59.35.
  • UConn sophomore William Kearsey won the men’s 200 backstroke in 1:43.89. The top 6 swimmers in that 200 back A-final were all underclassmen.
  • East Carolina freshman Jacek Arentewic won the men’s 200 breaststroke in a new Meet Record of 1:54.55 – a two-second margin of victory over UConn’s Markus Hunter (1:56.55). The old record of 1:54.59 was set by East Carolina’s Rokas Sepulis in 2015.
  • The male Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet Jonathan Gomez won the men’s 200 fly in 1:43.48. That’s his 3rd win of the meet, adding to earlier victories in the 500 free and 400 IM.
  • UConn’s Daniel Kinney won the men’s platform event with a score of 264.90.
  • East Carolina ended the meet with a win in the men’s 400 free relay in 2:57.39. That included a 43.86 anchor from John Myhre, who overtook Cincinnati’s anchor at the close.

Final Women’s Team Scores

  1. Houston – 826
  2. Cincinnati – 663
  3. East Carolina – 552
  4. SMU – 529
  5. Tulane – 401
  6. UConn – 379

Final Men’s Team Scores

  1. Cincinnati – 906
  2. East Carolina – 795
  3. SMU – 676
  4. UConn – 641


In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

1 Comment
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Cinci Fan
4 years ago

On day 4, Sara Wanasek from Cinci also broke the AAC meet record in the 1650

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »